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December music calendar: 2011 ends tunefully

Bells will be ringing and more joyful noise all month at Austin music venues

Peter Mongillo

In addition to a lot of Christmas and New Year's Eve shows (including the music-filled Armadillo Christmas Bazaar, which is Dec. 14-24), December marks the end of the road for the nearly 20-year-old inside room at Emo's. People complained that the outside stage didn't get a proper farewell when it shut down abruptly in September; fans at least have some advance notice of the small room's final shows, which will include bands that played the club throughout the years.

The Hickoids begin the final month for Emo's inside with Mr. Lewis and the Funeral 5, Zero Skulls and ¡Ex Amigos! (Thursday). The following week it's Mayhem (Sunday), Night Siege(Dec. 7), Mr. Gnome (Dec. 8) and Korpiklaani (Dec. 9). Other bands appearing in the venue's final weeks: Pocket FishRmen (Dec. 12), Dixie Witch (Dec. 14), Dead End Cruisers (Dec. 15), Man or Astro-Man with (Expletive)emos (Dec. 16) and Clutch (Dec. 18, following a show the night before at Emo's East) and Black Cobra (Dec. 19). Killdozer, the band that opened the venue back in 1992, plays the final night (Dec. 30).

One of the bigger shows this month at Emo's East is Scratch Acid (Dec. 10), David Yow and David Sim's pre-Jesus Lizard, Austin-based band that is out on its first tour in five years. Other shows at the new venue this month include Clutch (Dec. 17) and a New Year's Eve show with the Black Angels, Wooden Shjipsand Ume (Dec. 31).

New Year's Eve also marks the opening of the Beauty Ballroom, next door to Emo's East on East Riverside, with a performance by Grupo Fantasma. Maneja Betoand DJ Chorizo Funk (Dec. 31).

Stubb's kicks things off with Cake and an aftershow with Austin-based bands Speak, Ume and the Soldier Thread (Dec. 4). After that it's a string of inside shows, including David Ramirez and his band with Wild Child (Dec. 10), and Grieves and Budo (Dec. 15) leading up to a New Year's Eve show with T Bird and the Breaks(Dec. 31).

Austin-based country rock band Frank Smith, who have a new album out soon, perform Saturday at Mohawk with the O's and Cartright. Austin bands Dikes of Holland, Marriage and Naw Dudeplay with Chicago's Cavethe following week (Dec. 6). After that it's the Couch (CD release) with Zlam Dunkand Little Radar(Dec. 14), Devin the Dude (Dec. 15) and a fundraiser for the film "Postmodern Undead" featuring performances by noisy Austin band Boy + Kite, among others.

Literature plays with Shalom Salon and Shortwave Party (Dec. 9) at Beerland, followed by the Bad Sports(Dec. 10) and OBN III's, the Energy and Secret Prostitutes (Dec. 17).

ACL Live starts the month with its fastest-sellout so far: alt-country stalwarts Wilco on Thursday (the band also tapes an episode of "Austin City Limits" on Wednesday). After Friday night's show with Joe Bonamassa, the venue hosts a string of holiday-themed concerts, including Mary Mary (Dec. 8), Christmas with Aaron Neville (Dec. 13), Robert Earl Keen's Ready for Confetti with the Fam-O-Lee (Dec. 17), and a French Quarter Christmas with Better than Ezra (Dec. 28). Willie Nelson and Friendscloses out the month with two shows (Dec. 30 and 31).

And the Trans-Siberian Orchestrareturns to the Erwin Center on Dec. 21.

Austin-based singer songwriter Slaid Cleaves, who has a new album, performs at the Cactus Cafe on Saturday. The following week, it's the Trishas (Dec. 7), Betty Soo and Doug Cox (Dec. 8), and Matt the Electrician (Dec. 10).

In addition to their usual cast of nightly talent, highlights at Momo's this month include a residency from Austin-based Americana band Sons of Fathers (Dec. 7, 14, 21 and 28), the Minor Mishap Marching Band (Dec. 16), Ghosts Along the Brazosand Megan Carney (Dec. 23), Michael Fraccaso and the Local 99 (Dec. 29) and a New Year's Eve show with Foot Patrol.

At Antone's, it's the Bodeans with Fastball and the Greatcoats on Saturday. Legendary reggae group the Wailers perform next week (Dec. 6), as do Austin-based Not in the Face (Dec. 7). Other shows happening include Austin's White Ghost Shivers, which celebrates the release of its new CD (Dec. 16), Charlie Robison with the Will Sexton Band (Dec. 17), the HAAM Holiday Jam (Dec. 19) and a New Year's Show with Gary Clark Jr.

Over at the Continental Club, Alejandro Escovedocontinues his Tuesday shows (Dec. 13, 20 and 27), and blues organist Mike Flanigin and his Trio (Sundays and Fridays) and the jazz trumpeter Ephraim Owens (Tuesdays) both hold down several nights upstairs at the Continental Gallery. Finally, Dale Watson plays his annual Christmas show (Dec. 25).

Austin Music Hall has one December show, but it should be a good one, with indie rock band the National supported by Local Nativeson Sunday. La Zona Rosa has Austin rockers Alpha Rev (Friday), Brian Setzer (Dec. 10) and a New Year's Eve show with Hayes Carll. Singer songwriter Tori Amos plays Dec. 21 at Bass Concert Hall.

Michael Martin Murphey brings his Cowboy Christmas Show to the Paramount Theatre tonight. Country legend Kenny Rogersplays the historic theater on Thursday, followed by two more holiday shows — Kelly Willis and Bruce Robison (Dec. 10) and Asleep at the Wheel's "Santa Loves to Boogie" (Dec. 17). Bob Schneider closes out 2011 with a New Year's Eve show.